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U.S to Take Trade and Investment Relationship with Georgia to the Next Level

Published: June 6, 2012 | 10:58 am
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20th Year Anniversary of the U.S-Georgia Diplomatic Relations

The plane of the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed at the Batumi International Airport on June 4. Clinton was accompanied by other representatives from the U.S. government.

High-rank delegation stayed in Georgia for two days. Within the visit, Secretary of State attended and delivered a speech at the session held in the frame of the U.S – Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter; she also attended the ceremony of presenting Georgian coastal guards with two modernized patrol boats Phazisi. The last official meeting was held with President Saakashvili; the official part of the visit was concluded with a joint briefing held at the House of Justice in Batumi on June 5. At the end of the visit, Hillary Clinton viewed Batumi sightseeing and went to Adjara`s remote region of Keda, where she was familiarized with wine-making traditions. U.S. Secretary of State also met with representatives from opposition groups.

“Georgia’s reforms, including your economic reforms, have won international praise and rising standings in global business rankings. As Georgia continues to strengthen accountability, transparency, and the rule of law, you will see even greater interest and investment in your economy. The United States is proud to have been Georgia’s partner in this critical period. Now we want to take our trade and investment relationship to the next level,” declared Clinton.

In 2009 Strategic Partnership Commission was launched to take the U.S.-Georgia partnership to the next level.

Secretary Clinton stressed the importance of the recent start of the high level dialogue on economic cooperation, with the perspective of a Free Trade Agreement between both nations. She praised Georgian economic performances and role as a model in the fight against corruption and public service reforms.

According to her, in Washington, officials from the two countries fulfilled the two presidents’ pledges from last January to launch a high-level dialogue to strengthen U.S-Georgian trade relationship, including the possibility of a free trade agreement, an updated investment agreement, and other measures that could facilitate trade and investment. “We want to help Georgia expand economic opportunity for all Georgians, especially for women, minorities, and others who are often left out of economic progress.”

The U.S Secretary of State said development in Georgia’s Black Sea coast city Batumi was evident.   “When I was here two years ago, I said my first trip to Georgia would not be my last. And I am very happy to have returned and to have a chance to be here to see Georgia’s beautiful Black Sea coast for the first time and to learn more about the continuing efforts for development, as evidenced around us here in Batumi.”

In her words, upcoming Parliamentarian elections in October will be decisive in order to make the democratic achievements irreversible in Georgia. “The parliamentary elections this fall and the presidential election next year are an opportunity for Georgia to deepen its democracy and strengthen the legitimacy of Georgia’s democratic institutions in the eyes of your public and of the world. We urge Georgia’s leaders to ensure that it will be a competitive campaign and that elections are free and fair both on election day and in the months running up to it. The recent creation of an interagency task force to handle election-related grievances is a good step.”

The U.S Secretary of State said Georgia and the United States already have strong bilateral defense cooperation, and in their meeting in January, President Saakashvili and President Obama pledged to deepen that cooperation even further in three areas: furnishing comprehensive assistance to support Georgia’s continued defense reform and modernization; providing the training and equipment necessary for Georgian troops to effectively participate in ISAF operations in Afghanistan; and improving Georgia’s self-defense capabilities and NATO interoperability.

“We continue to strongly support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and stand by the Bucharest decision and all subsequent decisions on Georgia,” said Clinton.

Georgian President thanked Secretary Clinton for the US support to the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Georgia, its euroatlantic aspiration and the clear American condemnation of the illegal Russian occupation of 20% of Georgian territory.

As The U.S Secretary of State said, just resolution to the conflicts within Georgia is a goal that remains a priority for the United States. “The United States remains steadfast in our support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We reject Russia’s occupation and militarization of Georgian territory, and we call on Russia to fulfill its obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, including withdrawal of its forces to pre-conflict positions and free access for humanitarian assistance.”

Secretary Clinton expressed her support to the Georgian government policies towards minorities and its engagement strategy towards the Georgian citizens leaving in the occupied territories. She announced that the US is ready to recognize the Status Neutral Documents for the inhabitants of these territories.

“So this year marking the 20th anniversary of our diplomatic relations permits us to look back on all that Georgia has achieved in these past years and all the progress our two countries have achieved together. We have many reasons to be optimistic about what the future holds. And let us remember who we are working for. We are working for the people of our countries and the generations that will follow, whose futures will be shaped by the security, prosperity, freedom, and peace that we work together to build today,” said Clinton.

U.S. Secretary of State has departed from Georgia on June 6. President Saakashvili saw the guests off from the Batumi International Airport.

Georgian President made comments with Georgian media after the departure of the Secretary of State from Batumi.

“Several important messages were delivered today. First is the official announcement of the support by the U.S. government to Georgia`s defense, growth of its defensibility and the components. Second important message is that America has recognized the documents, which we issue for our compatriots living in the breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhivali regions and this means that many other countries will soon recognize these documents and these people will be able to travel abroad without taking Russian passports, but only with the documents issued by Georgian government. The third was the issue of parliamentary elections – it was said that the United States will send many observers, real observers to Georgia to monitor fair and free conduct of elections in Georgia so that its results will not be suspicious anymore,” stated Georgian President.




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